ATHENS - Georgia football ushered in a new era Saturday with the debut of Uga VII as the team's new mascot.
The 1-year-old English Bulldog was officially introduced to the sellout crowd of 92,746 at Sanford Stadium in a pregame ceremony in which he was adorned with the traditional red leather spike collar by UGA President Michael Adams.
UGA VII succeed his father, UGA VI, who died in June, and is the latest in a long line of mascots owned the the family of Frank W. "Sonny" Seler of Savannah.
Punt return under scrutiny
Georgia's search for a full-time punt returner continues, though if Saturday was any indication, there may be little need for tailback Knowshon Moreno to take on those duties like coach Mark Richt has been hinting at.
Both players who were able to field punts Saturday - junior Asher Allen and sophomore Reshad Jones - had their moments.
Allen bobbled the first of his three chances a little, but finished with 54 yards on those returns, including one of 37 yards.
Jones, meanwhile, returned just one punt, but took it 32 yards.
"I don't know if Asher's going to be returning every punt the entire season," Richt said. "Asher's a fine return man, no doubt. He's the most reliable guy. ... Reshad Jones did a nice job with his opportunity. Logan (Gray), unfortunately, didn't get a chance to field one. I think we'll see them all again before it's over."
Jumpin' the gun
Georgia's defensive line was a little eager in trying to pressure both Chapple and Henton, especially when they were lined up in the shotgun formation.
The Bulldogs where flagged four times for encroachment in the first 18 minutes of the game, two of which resulted in first downs for the Eagles.
Richt attributed those penalties in part to the enthusiasm of being the season opener, combined with a difficult snap count by Georgia Southern, though he hopes to see those infractions disappear.
"Some guys were just anxious to make a play," Richt said. "And you really can't simulate another team's snap count very well. Until you play them, it's kind of hard to get used to. I think we saw less and less of those penalties as we went along.
"We need to be more disciplined than that, but you can chalk some of that up to (being) the first time out. Not that it will keep them from having to run."
Overall, the Bulldogs were flagged 11 times for 70 yards.
Anyone who has ever attended a game at Sanford Stadium knows gameday traffic approaching Athens is never fun.
However, it was particularly nightmarish Saturday, so much that several media outlets, and even the Georgia Southern marching band, were late arriving into the stadium.
By the time the band arrived in their seats just after Stafford's 61-yard scoring strike to Kris Durham with 12:38 left in the first half, their Eagles were already trailing 17-0.